Information Services Division


Accessibility features in Zoom

Zoom has some accessibility features that you can use to make your meetings and webinars more inclusive.

Closed captioning and live transcription

There are three options for captioning in Zoom meetings and webinars:

Auto-generated captions

Use live transcription during your event to show automatically generated closed captions.

Note: Live transcription is not currently available in breakout rooms. Assign someone to type captions. Add them to the same breakout room as the person requiring the captions. The person typing the captions must be assigned before the breakout rooms are opened. Only one captioner can be assigned, so only one breakout room can be captioned.

If you are live streaming to YouTube with automatic captions you must have 10,000 subscribers to your channel.

Manual captions

You can type the captions yourself as the meeting host. Or you can assign another participant to type closed captioning. In a webinar the captioner must be the host or a panellist. Assign someone to type captions if you need captions in a breakout room.

Third-party captioning

Use onsite or remote captioning by a CART provider. An external stenographer types the transcription during the event. This has a high degree of accuracy. It is great for situations where auto-transcription would struggle. For example, because of specialised language, noisy environments or strong accents. But, you do have to pay for the service. UCL has several suppliers on MyFinance that you can hire. You must contact the company in advance to ensure availability and request a quotation. 121 Captions is a popular choice. Once your meeting is scheduled, you can generate an API token. Send this to the company with the meeting link and pass code.

Note: You can only assign one participant or third-party service to provide manual captioning. 
You must not close the meeting for all at the end or the captioning company can't save the transcription for you. Allow attendees to leave one at a time.

Audio Transcription

When you record an event to the cloud, audio transcription automatically transcribes the audio. when this transcript is processed, it appears as a separate .VTT file in the list of recorded meetings. When you view the recording, you can display the transcript text within the video itself. It looks like closed caption display.

Interpreters including BSL

You must select BSL interpretation when scheduling the meeting for it to show as an option in the meeting. You can assign interpreters before or during a meeting. If you are recording the meeting, the interpreter must be spotlighted as well as the speaker or the signed view won't record.

In a webinar the interpreter must be a panellist to give them full give access to the controls.

Focus mode

This feature helps attendees to stay attentive as they are not distracted by others. It is available in meetings and meeting rooms.

It allows the host and co-hosts to view of all participants’ videos without other participants seeing each other. This extends into screen sharing. The host and co-host can view and switch between each participant’s shared screen, while the participants can only view their own content. If the host wants to share a participant’s content with others they can easily begin sharing that screen.

Participants in focus mode will only see the video of the host, co-hosts, any participants spotlighted by the host, and their own video. They will only see other participants' names, their nonverbal feedback or reactions, and hear them when unmuted.

You can schedule meetings with focus mode set to switch on automatically, or you can start it manually during the meeting.

Note: You need to switch Focus mode on in your Zoom account settings before it will show as an option in your meeting.

Keyboard shortcuts and Hot keys

To ensure full keyboard support within the desktop meeting client, the toolbar must be set to not automatically hide. This is done by turning on Always show meeting controls.

Instructions for desktop

  1. Sign in to Zoom
  2. Click on your profile icon in the top right of the screen
  3. Click on Settings
  4. in General tick the Always show meeting controls check box

Instructions for mobile

  1. Sign in to Zoom
  2. Select More...
  3. Under Settings Select Meetings
  4. Under General toggle on Always show meeting controls so that the button shows as green.

Windows, Mac and Linux users can see a list of all keyboard shortcuts by signing in to the Zoom desktop client. To do this click on your profile icon and select Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts

For a complete list of keyboard commands see Hot keys and keyboard shortcuts (external site)

 Screen reader support

Zoom will work with common screen readers such as NVDA, JAWS, VoiceOver, and Android Talkback.

Note: Screen-shared content, Chat and white boards are not properly accessible to screen readers. When possible, email links and documents before the event to help people using assistive technology.

 Mute / unmute

To reduce distractions you are recommended to start your meeting with all participants muted. You can set this when you schedule the meeting or from within the meeting. You also have the option to allow participants to Unmute themselves, Mute all and Ask all to unmute.

High-contrast and dark mode

If you enable either high contrast or dark mode on your device's operating system (Windows and MacOS) Zoom will inherit this setting.

How to guides

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